What do you need to know? Metal Roofing and Weather
If your existing roof needs a total makeover, or if you are in the market for a new roof, there are many materials to consider. Metal is one such option. It can be attractive due to its durability, minimal maintenance, and energy efficiency. But many times, metal is considered for the way it manages various forms of weather. From rain and snow to high winds, metal roofing performs differently than many other roofing products. Making it a very good option for areas that experience drastic weather swings.
Metal Roofs in the Rain
If you have ever been stuck in a metal pole barn during a rainstorm, you probably know that it can be very loud. When rain lands on any roofing surface, it is noticeable and can be heard, but what happens when it lands on a metal roof? This may surprise you, but metal roofing is very quiet when installed with solid sheathing. Roof sheathing comes in various types of materials and is chosen based on the budget and weather conditions of the area.
Do Metal Roofs attract Lightning?
One common myth about metal roofing is the increased likelihood of lightning strikes. Although metal conducts electricity, lightning is not drawn to it. When lightning does strike, the highest object in the area is in most danger. Trees, power poles, antennas, and towers are all more likely to be struck when they exceed the height of a metal roof.
Metal Roofs in the Wind
In many cases, metal roofs are made from continuous sheets of metal that run the entire span of a roof leading to fewer exposed edges. Shingle or tile roofs have numerous seams where wind can penetrate the material and cause damage. When there are fewer exposed edges, there is less opportunity for wind to cause damage. But this is dependent on other factors that determine how a metal roof will perform in windy conditions:
- Was the building engineered for the geographic location? A building constructed in California must be built to meet more rigid seismic codes while a building in Florida should be designed to handle hurricanes. Make sure that the building is engineered to withstand typical and extreme weather patterns in your area.
- Is the roof installed according to manufacturers recommendations?
- Has the roof been maintained? While metal roofs have low maintenance, they still require some maintenance. Regular removal of debris from the roof and gutters. And attention to eroding coatings and dysfunctional gutters and downspouts should be repaired or replaced. Keeping a roof in good shape will prevent corrosion which eventually threatens structural integrity, when unaddressed.
To verify wind resistance, metal roofs are tested by wind uplift tests. These tests simulate actual wind occurrences. Although a roof may have a superb rating from the uplift test, it may not perform well if other factors have not been met.
Metal Roofs in Ice and Snow
Ice and snow are synonymous with cold weather and will undoubtedly impact a roof. These elements wear down a roof and test its durability whenever they are present. Mass amounts of ice and snow can weigh down a roof and ice dams can form on roof eaves. These dangers will taunt any building owner each year. But when ice and snow land on a metal roof, in almost every case, they slide right off. This makes metal roofing a popular roofing choice for those in the cold and snowy climates of the United States and Canada.
Because metal roofing is designed to shed ice and snow, many times these roofs are installed with heating cables or snow guards. These devices break up large amounts of snow and ice that build up on the roof. And they ease the “avalanche” effect that may occur outside of the home as snow departs the roof.
It is important to plan with a roofing contractor to locate heat sources within the attic of your home before installing a metal roof. Unbalanced heat sources can cause ice and snow to melt in one area, and allow water runoff to move and refreeze in another area--creating ice dams. Having consistent heat on the surface of the roof will allow snow and ice to shed easily and safely.
A roof is only as good as the company that installs it. Work with a contractor that is familiar with metal roof construction. This will ensure proper installation and that your building is safe. Highmark Restoration has experience with metal roofs and has got you covered for any roof replacement or repair.